Duo for Cajon and Computer

by Patti Cudd

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Cort Lippe Program Notes
Duo for Cajon and Computer (2011) was commissioned by the percussionist Patti Cudd for a tour of Korea and Thailand in May of 2011. The electronic part was created at the Hiller Computer Music Studios of the University at Buffalo, New York, using the software Max/MSP. Technically, the computer tracks parameters of the cajon performance using Miller Puckette’s bonk~ object, which does an analysis of the incoming cajon signal and gives out information as to when the cajon is struck, how loud it is struck, the timbre of each strike, and details about relative loudness across the audible frequency range in 11 independent frequency bands. All this information, from larger scale rhythmic and phrase tracking, down to micro-level frequency band information of individual strikes, is used to continuously influence and manipulate the computer sound output by directly affecting digital synthesis and compositional algorithms in real-time. Thus, while interacting with the computer system, the performer has a role in shaping all of the computer output. The intent is to create a certain degree of intimacy and interactivity between the performer and the computer, giving the performer potential to influence the computer output based on aspects of the musical expressivity of his/her interpretation of the score. On the one hand, the computer part is an extension of the cajon, so the cajon can be considered as more than a purely acoustic instrument, while at the same time the computer part is an independent musical agent. These two musical relationships exist simultaneously between the performer and computer, and are fundamental to the musical results; yet have a certain level of musical and technical ambiguity, much like in chamber music playing, in which individual expressivity is meant to serve the whole while influencing the entire ensemble. The digital synthesis algorithms focus on various kinds of filtering, including resonant filter banks, formant filters, and comb filters, along with delay/feedback, spatialization, frequency shifting, frequency modulation synthesis, spectral processing, and sample playback. This piece is dedicated to the computer music pioneer Max Matthews, who passed away on April 21, 2011. Duration: 9 minutes.


released August 1, 2013
Composer, Cort Lippe
Recorded live by Christopher Jacobs at the University of Buffalo Hiller Computer Music Studios concert of March 27, 2013.



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Patti Cudd Saint Paul, Minnesota

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